Early Detection

Importance of Early Detection of Primary FSGS

If FSGS is not detected early or that patient doesn’t respond to the treatment regimens, the patient may require hemodialysis or possibly a kidney transplant. In some patients with FSGS, the condition can recur after kidney transplantation, sometimes as quickly as a few days, which is called recurrence after kidney transplant. The risk of FSGS returning in the transplanted kidney varies from 30-50%.1

Signs and Symptoms of Primary FSGS

FSGS can be difficult to detect. Early stages may not cause any symptoms. You may only see some signs on your own (begin to feel sick, experience swelling, have foamy urine and feel tired and rundown), while others may be found by your healthcare provider. Signs and symptoms of FSGS include:2

Swelling (edema) in body parts such as legs, ankles
and around the eyes.

Weight gain due to extra fluid building in your body.

Foamy urine (proteinuria) caused by high protein
levels in the urine.

High cholesterol levels in the blood.

Low levels of protein in the blood (hypoalbuminemia).

Please consult with your healthcare provider if you exhibit any signs and symptoms for a proper diagnosis. 

FSGS Recurrence After Kidney Transplant

The way that FSGS causes damage to the transplanted kidney is not entirely clear. There is some evidence that it may be due to a substance present in the blood.

Studies have shown that the use of immunosuppressive medications is sometimes effective. Additionally, using medications to control blood pressure and reduce the protein in the urine is helpful.

FSGS recurrence after kidney transplantation remains a major risk factor for loss of kidney transplant. About 1,000 FSGS patients a year receive kidney transplants. Within hours to weeks after kidney transplantation, FSGS recurs in approximately 30-40% of adults and up to 50% in children.3


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FSGS recurrence occurs in one-third of kidney transplant patients within an average of 1.5 months.
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Risk of kidney transplant failure increases almost five-fold after recurrent FSGS.
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The median time from recurrence to graft loss is within 7 months.


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Recurrence of non-genetic FSGS has a reported incidence of up to 50% in post-kidney transplant.
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Almost one-half of patients lose their transplanted kidney within a period of 5 years after FSGS recurrence.
Recurrence of FSGS is associated with a reduction in graft survival. This is especially true for patients who have not responded to treatment.4

Testing for FSGS

If your healthcare provider suspects FSGS, he/she will review your medical history and may order a series of tests:2
  • Urinalysis: A urine test will help find protein and blood in your urine.
  • Blood tests: A blood test will help find levels of protein and wastes in your blood.
  • Glomerular filtration rate (GFR): A blood test will be done to find out how well your kidneys are filtering waste from your body.
  • Kidney biopsy: A tiny piece of your kidney is removed with a special needle and looked at under a microscope.
  • Genetic testing: A genetic test may be done to see if you were born with genes that caused your kidney disease.
This information may help your doctor decide what type of treatment is best for you.